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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

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learning to walk need little closed * cages.' " So, in the schools, it is-
considered necessary to have heavy benches almost nailed to the
floor. All these ideas are based on the conception that the child
ought to grow up into immobility and on the strange prejudice
that the educational benefit depends upon a special position of
the body.

The tables, seats and armchairs, all light and portable, will
allow the child to choose the position which pleases him best; he
will be able to make himself comfortable as well as to seat himself;
and that will be both an external sign of liberty and a means of
education. If an awkward movement of the child upsets a chair
noisily, he will get an evident proof of his incapacity; the same
movement, made among benches, would have passed unnoticed.
The child will thus have means of correcting himself, and when
he has corrected himself, he will have the proof of it plainly in.
evidence; chairs and tables will remain quiet and steady in their
places; that will mean that the child has learnt to move about.
With the old method, instead of this result, the very contrary was
aimed at and achieved  that is, the immobility and the silence of
the child himself. It was an immobility and silence which hindered
the child from learning to move about with grace and judgement,
so that when he found himself in surroundings where benches did
not exist, he was prone to overturn light articles. In our schools,
on the contrary, the child acquires deportment and control over
movement which will be of service to him outside school; whilst
still a child, he will become a person of free but correct behaviour.

The mistress of the Children's House in Milan had constructed
a long shelf beside a window, on which were set out the supports
for the choice of the metal insets necessary for the first drawing
exercises (vide later: Teaching material in the preparation for
writing). But the ledge, being too narrow, was very inconvenient
for the children when they were choosing their pieces, and they
often let a case fall to the ground, scattering with a great amount
of noise the metal insets which it contained. The mistress planned
to have the shelf altered, but the carpenter delayed his coming, and